I love antique quilts. When the hubs and I go “antiquing,” I’m always on the lookout for old quilts and quilt tops that need rescuing. I consider it my mission to help them escape from the store, clean them up, and give them a good home. My favorite era of antique quilts are those from the 1930’s. I love the colors, the feed sacks, and the fact that the women (and some men) during that time made do with what they had. They took the time and the resources on hand to make something beautiful that would brighten their lives during the dark times of the Great Depression.
My favorite group of quilts from the 1930’s is the Mountain Mist Quilts. Several months ago, my friends Lisa and Susan asked me to go with them to the Quilt Museum in Virginia. At that time, the museum had a group of the Mountain Mist Quilts on display. You could look as long as you wanted and take as many pictures as you wanted, as long as you didn’t use a flash.
Before I show the pictures of the wonderful Mountain Mist quilts, let me give you a little background on the company. Mountain Mist was and is a batting company. For more than 180 years, Mountain Mist has produced batting and it’s still available for purchase. Nowadays, the batting is packaged in plastic bags, but during the early days it was sold with paper wrappers around the batts. These wrappers protected the batting during shipping and while it was on the shelf. On the inside of these wrappers, the company included full instructions for one of the featured quilts. Directions for making the quilt, color suggestions, and quilt designs were also included. As new quilt patterns were developed, the outside wrappers were updated to show the new designs.
As the 1930’s brought a resurgence in quilting (partly due to necessity), the Mountain Mist Company upped their quilt game a bit. They contracted with various quilters across the country to make quilts from their patterns. They worked with only the best quilters and these women would take the patterns and create beautiful quilts. These quilts made up the Mountain Mist Collection. During the 1930’s and until some point in the 1960’s these quilts were shipped across the country to stores that sold Mountain Mist Batting. The quilts were displayed with the batting and patterns to promote sales. And it worked beautifully. Eventually as time and tastes and hobbies changed, Mountain Mist discontinued shipping the quilts with the batting. Most of the quilts were collected at the Mountain Mist company offices and eventually they became a permanent display at the International Quilt Study Center and Museum at Quilt House at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Occasionally the university will allow the quilts out to be displayed at other museums so that quilters everywhere can enjoy and be dazzled at these quilts. That’s why Lisa, Susan, and I were on our way to The Virginia Quilt Museum. The International Quilt Study Center had loaned them out to the museum for several months. And the Quilt Museum, housed in a historic house, was the perfect backdrop to these wonderful quilts.
I know this blog is “picture heavy,” but these quilts are worth the viewing. If you ever get a chance to see them in person, go for it. And if you’re near the Virginia Quilt Museum, be sure to take time to visit. Bonus — there’s a great fabric store right down the road from it!
Until next week, Quilt With Passion!
Love and Stitches,
Sherri and Sam